Colloquium on Young Women Against Extremism
April 10, 2018


Date: 13th – 15th April 2018 (Friday – Sunday)
Venue: Journal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Organized by: Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

Although Malaysia is a country considered as relatively safe, we cannot deny the fact that extremism brews even among the young and the educated. According to the Global Terrorism Index 2016 produced by the Institute of Economic and Peace (an Australia based non-profit group), Malaysia is now 61st in the ranking, increased from the 90th spot in the 2012 issue of the report, of the countries facing the impacts of terrorism. PEW Research Centre in November 2015 revealed that more Malaysian Muslims (11 percent) express a favorable view of ISIS than do Indonesian Muslims (4 percent). The survey results, support the thesis that the understanding of what constitutes religious extremism has shifted in a more rigid direction, and perhaps more so in Malaysia than in neighbouring country, Indonesia. In fact, not many realized that Kuala Lumpur and other states in the country had some role in major terrorism acts over the past decades, including the 9/11 attack in the US in 2001, and the Bali bombings in 2002. Malaysians are also known to be among the ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq. More recently in 2017, Malaysians were among the fighters involved in the ISIS terrorist acts in Marawi, Philippines.

It is widely known that terrorist organizations and networks, including Al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah and ISIS are actively recruiting members and fighters to support their goals and be part of their violent-extremism activities. ISIS has employed several methods to lure Malaysian youths, including young women, to join jihad in the Middle East, notably social media and usrah (small group discussions) in colleges and universities to mainly target the student population. Previous lecturers from local Malaysian public universities were known to have played instrumental roles in violent-terrorist attacks in Bali and Marawi. The recent trend is very worrying considering the fact that more and more young Muslim women were being recruited into the ISIS web and measures must be taken to stem this tricky and precarious phenomenon.

Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) sees the need to address and identify necessary steps to avoid the problem from spreading, and putting a stop to violent-extremism, especially that are related to young women. Since early this year, IRF is working on a prevention of violent extremism project, which focuses on young women in local universities in Malaysia. In this Colloquium, IRF will share and present the preliminary findings of the study, and invite comments and additional information to be provided by the participants.

Speakers & Facilitators

  1. Julia Sveshnikova, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
  2. Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Indonesia
  3. Thomas Samuel, Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT)
  4. Ahmad El-Muhammady, IIUM
  5. Dina Zaman, IMAN Research
  6. Yana Rizal, Projek Dialog


Day 1: Friday, 13th April 2018
2.30 – 3.00        : Registration
3.00 – 6.00        : Roundtable Discussion 1: Preventing Violent-Extremism among Young Women in Malaysia
6.00 – 8.00        : Break & Dinner
8.00 – 9.00        : Workshop Session 1: Ice-breaking with Participants
9.00 – 10.00      : Video Screening & Discussion
10.00                  : Supper and break

Day 2: Saturday, 14th April 2018
9.00 – 9.20        : Opening speech by Dr. Julia Sveshnikova, (Islamic Renaissance Front)
9.20 – 12.30      : Roundtable Discussion 2: Young Women for Progress, Development & Religious Moderation
12.00 – 2.00      : Break & Lunch
2.00 – 3.30        : Workshop Session 2, Media Advocacy Training
3.30 – 3.45        : Tea Break
3.45 – 5.30        : Workshop Session 3 (Group Activity) Developing Advocacy Campaign
6.00 – 8.00        : Break & Dinner
8.00 – 10.00      : Workshop Session 4 (Group Activity) Continuation Developing Advocacy Campaign
10.00                : Supper and break

Day 3: Sunday, 15th April 2018
9.30 – 10.00      : Opening speech by Dr. Julia Sveshnikova, (Islamic Renaissance Front)
10.00 – 12.00    : Workshop Session 5, Presentation of Media Advocacy Campaign
12.00 PM           : Lunch and workshop ends


Biography of Speakers & Facilitators:

Dr. Julia Sveshnikova, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
Julia Sveshnikova is a project manager for the project conducted by IRF and called Preventing Violent Extremism Among Young Muslim Women in Malaysia, supported by the Global Centre on Cooperative Security. She possesses LL.M. from the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Moscow), MA in Muslim World Issues from ISTAC, UIA (Kuala Lumpur) and her Ph.D. in world politics and history of international relations was obtained through the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). She has a number of publications on the issues of Muslim world, Middle East politics, Iran nuclear program cricis, and other topics, and serves as an analyst writer for Al-Monitor.

Dina Zaman, IMAN Research
Dina Zaman has a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster, UK and Honours degree in Communications from Western Michigan University, US and works in the media. She has written a book on Muslim Malaysians titled I Am Muslim and covered Muslim life in her columns for, The Malaysian Insider and The Malay Mail Online. She was a recipient of the Nippon Foundation’s Asian Public Intellectual Fellowship in 2012, and her research was a comparative study on saints in Indonesia and Malaysia. She is currently compiling her published essays for a new book. She has been in the media for over 20 years, serving as editor at and The Malaysian Insider. She also has a background in corporate communications, and believes that research, advocacy and journalism can be utilised in a multimedia platform that will serve policy makers, governments and media owners.

Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Indonesia
Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah is currently representative of the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) in Indonesia, which focuses on strengthening leadership of grassroots inter-faith women and consolidating progressive voices to advocate the rights of minority groups. She earned her Masters Degree in Health and Social Sciences at Mahidol University in Thailand, and her thesis, Contesting Discourses on Sexuality and Sexual Subjectivity Among Single Young Muslim Women in Pesantren and The Future of Asian Feminism: Confronting Fundamentalism, Conflict and Noe-Liberalism, has been published as a book. Ruby is a contributor to Majalah Potret and Aulia, a women magazine to promote women’s voices. With AMAN Indonesia, she initiated the Women’s School for Peace, a community for learning peace education for inter-faith mothers that has already spread to 20 communities in seven provinces to strengthen women’s leadership skills and organization in order to be able to contribute to peace building.

Thomas Samuel, Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT)
Thomas Koruth Samuel is at present the Director of the Research and Publications with the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), which is under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Prior to that, he was a volunteer Health Officer with World Vision East Timor. He has a certificate in Terrorism Studies from St. Andrews University, Scotland (2007), an honours degree in Biomedical Technology (2000) and a Masters degree in Strategic and Defense Studies (2005) from the University of Malaya, Malaysia. His main areas of research include the dynamics of terrorism and counter-terrorism, focusing on radicalization, countering the terrorist narrative and youth involvement in terrorism. He lectures frequently on counter-terrorism and international security and has spoken in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Nepal, The Philippines, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Singapore and Thailand. He has also written several articles, papers and monographs. He is at present a Senior Fellow with the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah Centre) based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Ahmad El-Muhammady, IIUM
Ahmad El-Muhammady is a Lecturer at the Centre for Islamization, International Islamic University Malaysia and a member of the Institute for Youth Research, Ministry of Youth and Sport. His areas of interest include extremist ideology, extremism and militancy in Southeast Asia, deradicalisation and rehabilitation of terrorist detainees. He possesses a vast experience in working as a member of rehabilitation/deradicalisation panel, appearing in court as expert witness for terrorism-related cases, providing consultancy to national and international agencies on countering/preventing violent extremism issues, terrorist profiling and radicalisation. One of the recent projects he accomplished include Profile of Youth Involvement in Extremist Activities and Guidelines for Preventing Radicalism and Extremism Among Youth and Society (published by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia (IYRES), Kuala Lumpur, 2017).

Yana Rizal, Projek Dialog
Yana Rizal serves as co-director of Projek Dialog, a youth platform for human rights advocacy and empowering marginalised voices. She is also a curator, writer, poet, literary translator and cultural researcher. In her capacity with Projek Dialog, she has led numerous interfaith and intercommunity initiatives. Among others, she was the programme manager and co-curator of the Khabar dan Angin interfaith art initiative that culminated in an exhibition at Balai Seni Visual Negara. She is the co-editor of the regional bilingual literary journal, Naratif | Kisah, and I, KKK – the autobiography of the historian Khoo Kay Kim. She has co-curated international festivals and exhibitions including This World, Out Here – the KataKatha Exhibition, the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Literary Festival as well as the Festival of Malay Language & Literature. She is also the curator of Hasanah Bersama Rakyat, Jeli chapter – an initiative by Khazanah Nasional to provide free services on education, art and culture, entrepreneurship, civic awareness, health and living necessities for the B40 community.

Contact Us
Islamic Renaissance Front
26th Floor Menara Maxis, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +603-2615-7919
Fax: +603-2615-2699
Updated version: 2.39-20231022